November 15, 2022
My name is Andrea Richter-Sanchez and I am thrilled for the opportunity to be Washington Sea Grant’s science communication fellow for the fall and winter of 2022-2023. I am originally from Venezuela and grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida. Growing up in a tropical climate by the beach, I have always had a passion for marine ecosystems and issues such as sea level rise, coastal erosion, ocean acidification and nature-based solutions for carbon sequestration. I graduated from Florida State University in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and went on to work for FEMA as an environmental protection specialist relating to emergency management work in disasters such as Hurricane Michael. I took two months to solo travel through South America after college, and it opened my eyes to how countries that contribute the least to climate change are the ones who are most affected by it. This realization made me want to learn about environmental justice work and work with Latino communities like the one I grew up in, to advocate for coastal adaptation, mitigation and conservation. I wanted to learn more about looking at climate change issues through a human dimensions lens — and so I decided to trade Florida’s palm trees for Washington’s pine trees to start my master’s in marine and environmental affairs (SMEA) at the University of Washington in 2021.
During my first year at SMEA, I completed a research assistantship with Dr. Terrie Klinger, in which I looked at bull kelp’s carbon sequestration potential and its spatial distribution throughout Puget Sound. I was then selected as a summer intern for the Surfrider Foundation for their Coast and Climate graduate internship. There, I assessed 31 states for their coastal policies related to sea level rise, coastal armoring, coastal development and sediment management. This information was used to produce Surfrider’s annual State of the Beach Report. I am now in my second and final year of graduate school. One way I want to use this time is to further develop my writing and communication skills and participate more in educational outreach. Being selected as a science communication fellow for Washington Sea Grant is very exciting because I get the opportunity to polish my communication skills, learn more about marine issues facing Puget Sound and work on outreach projects with the local community.
Some fun facts about me: I love to travel and have traveled to more than thirteen countries; half of those countries I solo traveled to. I love to dance salsa and merengue as much as I can. I am a big fan of all types of music and have enjoyed living in Seattle because of all the concerts I have been able to attend. I volunteer with the Seattle animal shelter and I ended up adopting two of the kittens I was fostering this summer!
Washington Sea Grant, based at the University of Washington, helps people and marine life thrive through research, technical expertise and education supporting the responsible use and conservation of coastal ecosystems. The National Sea Grant College Program is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.